Accidents involving heating systems occur more frequently than you'd hope. Heating systems can be a source of burns, fires, and shocks. There are a couple of simple things you can do to avoid any of these outcomes in your home.
Keep Flammables Away from Heat Sources
For starters, make sure that any flammable items are kept well away from heat sources. That includes the appliances themselves and the vents that distribute heated air through your house. Pay special attention to the placement of space heaters, which will travel throughout the house; watch their placement with regards to household cleaning supplies, paint, and other potentially volatile household goods.
Keep Children Away from Heat Sources
Keeping children away from heat sources is a matter of creating a physical barrier. For fireplaces, setting up a strong grille will do the trick. For space heaters, you may want to place a fence around the space heater or set it up where it's out of reach of children. Monitoring kids closely around these heat sources is also a must.
Test Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Many heating accidents can be prevented with the simple monitoring devices that you already have in your home. But a carbon monoxide detector can't do its job if it's out of batteries or defective. So, be sure to do a test of these devices at least every 6 months. It's a good idea to change the batteries at this time, even if they haven't been spent yet. Better to have fully functioning batteries than to ride the line and have the smoke detector not work when you need it.
Do Yearly Heating Maintenance
And finally, at least once a year, pull out your user manual and do a test of your heating systems. Tasks like cleaning the chimney, changing air filters, and removing debris from the combustion chamber may not be pretty, but they are necessary for keeping the heater performing correctly. Small pieces of debris within your heating system are a fire hazard, and they also make the system run less efficiently. Inefficient heating systems output more energy, creating a greater risk of fire or malfunction. It's also a good idea to schedule an inspection from a heating contractor once a year.
The great thing is that a heating contractor can do these functions and more as they troubleshoot your heating system on a routine basis. If you don't want to let the job pile up, be sure to schedule your next yearly maintenance visit on time.